DISOWNED COWBOYS by J. Rose Allister
Book 1 of the LONE WOLVES OF SHAY FALLS series
Series info: http://lonewolvesofshayfalls.blogspot.com/
When Aimee gets lost during a hike, she finds more than refuge in a dark cave—she finds a chained and naked cowboy who claims to know who she is. Dillon and his partner, Kyle, are werewolves determined to become her mates. Just one problem—she shows up for her appointment with fate while wearing another man’s engagement ring.
Before she could answer, Kyle turned her hand over and stared at the back of it. “What’s this?” he asked, thumbing the diamond so it slid back and forth.
Aimee pulled her hand away and glanced at the gem. “It’s an engagement ring.”
“A what?” Dillon spoke this time, his voice echoing loudly through the space. She turned to him to find his eyes wide. “You ain’t engaged.”
She could swear there was an edge of jealousy in the remark, and a tiny spark of pleasure ignited at the thought of his possessiveness. She couldn’t help but poke at the theory a little. “Why else would I be wearing a half-carat diamond on my wedding finger?” She waggled it at him for effect, then took a breath and decided to dive in with the rest. “In fact, he’s here with me. No doubt he’s searching for me right now. I should probably go.”
“Kyle,” Dillon said. “Are you hearin’ this?”
The other man shrugged. “I guarantee ain’t nobody out searchin’ for you tonight. It’s too dark and too wet.” He nodded at her ring. “If your Prince Charmin’ fiancé is here with you, how is it you got separated and wound up with us?”
She frowned at the term. “I didn’t say he was Prince Charming. Or my fiancé, to be honest. I got lost when I left him to use the bathroom and found a wolf intent on chasing me instead.”
Dillon chuckled. “If you were lookin’ for a bathroom out here, it’s no wonder you got lost.”
She snorted. “Not an actual bathroom. You know what I mean.”
“A wolf chased you?” Kyle’s hands were on his hips now.
“It was Caleb,” Dillon said. He winced and bent over a moment, as though he were in pain. “I smelled him on her. But he didn’t hurt her.”
Aimee frowned. “What is it with naming the wolves around here? Are you guys part of some wolf protection society or something?”
When she shot a look at Kyle, she saw that he, too, wore a pained grimace. “You ain’t completely wrong,” he said with some difficulty. “But I’m afraid we got bigger problems right now.”
“It’s comin’,” Dillon said. He was kneeling on all fours now. “I can feel it.”
Aimee blinked in confusion. “What’s coming?”
“Fight it,” Kyle said. “You don’t want to change now.”
The other man rolled his eyes. “Yeah, like that’ll help. Why didn’t I think of that?”
Dillon was shivering now, and Aimee stared down at him with a curious frown. “What’s wrong? Thought you said you don’t get cold.”
Kyle took her by the upper arms, and a tickle flickered in her stomach. “There ain’t time for proper explanations,” he said. “You’re just gonna have to believe that you were meant to be here, and we’re not gonna let anythin’ happen to you.”
“Shit.” Dillon was on the ground now, heaving in and out.
“Why are you telling me this?” Aimee pulled away from Kyle’s grasp and stepped back with a wary glance at Dillon. “What’s wrong with him?”
“She’s fuckin’ engaged, Kyle.” The gaze Dillon leveled on her glowed with yellow fire, and she gasped aloud.
“Easy, now,” Kyle said, dropping beside Dillon to sit cross-legged on the cave floor. “Breathe with me, partner. You can do this. It’s just the low moon.”
Dillon sat up but shook his head. “The waxin’ low moon. I can’t help it, Kyle. I keep thinkin’ about her marryin’ some jackass, and, damn it.”
She scowled at him. “Hey! David’s not a jackass.”
The mention of his name brought a throaty growl in response. Kyle launched into some weird New Age-style deep breathing with his palms facing up on his knees. “Just try,” he said.
Dillon shut his eyes and whooshed out some forceful breaths while he continued to quiver. Aimee gripped her elbows in her hands while she watched the bizarre display. What was the big deal about her engagement ring? Maybe he’d recently had a bad breakup and it brought back memories.
She stepped forward. “I didn’t agree to marry the guy yet.” The words surprised her as soon as they were out. Why should she feel a need to explain? She didn’t owe them anything.
“But you’re wearin’ his ring.” The hint of accusation in the tone was clear. “You let another man put his ring on your finger.”
A stab of anger shot through her. “So what?” Her volume dialed up enough for the words to bounce off the cave walls. “It’s my life, and I can do what I want with it. Just who the hell are you to comment on whether I get married or not?”
“Who am I?” Dillon rose up on his knees, his eyes gleaming with something feral that set her teeth on edge. “I am your mate.”
Her jaw fell open, but her shock at the bold claim was quickly overridden by the odd ripples forming along the surface of his skin.
About the author:
J. Rose Allister is the author of more than two dozen books, primarily erotic romance. If you ever spot her in public, don’t be alarmed if she’s wearing a dazed, deer-in-the-headlights look. She’s just writing the next scene in her head.